The news from Russia was not all negative for the Aussies.
One of them, at least, now enjoys the prospect of a move to Europe.
That would be none other than Mark Milligan, who handled a shift from defensive midfielder into central defense with a degree of aplomb that has generated interest from clubs all over Europe, along with Asian and Australian sides.
The 32-year-old had been playing his club football in Saudi Arabia for Al-Ahli, but he was released when the club hired a new coach, freeing Milligan to test his value on the free agent market.
Milligan commented to reporters, “It looks like I’ll be going to Europe somewhere, I’ll explore all those avenues. I’ve had a few offers and I’ll just weigh up my options.”
His European ambitions have been thwarted in the past. Visa restrictions denied him a chance and a potential move to EPL side Crystal Palace was rejected by the Melbourne Victory when Milligan was playing A-League football.
His output at the recently completed 2018 FIFA World Cup Finals supplied him with pause to reconsider retirement from representative football and Milligan is interested to see what transpires under the leadership of Bert van Marwijk replacement Graham Arnold.
Many people would like to see Milligan back in A-League football, but at his age, few would begrudge him the opportunity to reap the rewards of his efforts, rewards that come along with one of the European clubs.
We are not suggesting that he be viewed as the answer to fill the void left at Real Madrid by the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo for Italy’s Juventus, but he has paid his dues at the club and representative level.
This may have been his last tango as a member of the Socceroos, but he could possibly pull off a Tim Cahill impersonation and make an appearance in World Cup Qatar in 2022, so the future beyond the next season is uncertain for Milligan, as it is for us all.